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Royal Opera House Open Up from Stanton Williams

The Royal Opera House in Covent Garden opens up. We talk to the architects who worked on the project.

21/06/2019 2 min read

Completion Date: September 18       |      Location: Covent Garden, London


Stanton Williams – architects on the Royal Opera House Open Up project.

What part did you play in delivering the scheme? 


Who was the key person/people from your organisation? 

Alan Stanton (Director), Paul Williams (Director), Rawden Pettitt (Associate Director), Tom Shell (Associate).

Who was the key person/people from the client side? 

Alex Beard (Chief Executive, Royal Opera House) and Sarah Younger (Open Up Project Director).

What were the key objectives set by the client? 

To create a world class second theatre for the Royal Opera and Royal Ballet alongside the historic auditorium; to create new facilities and spaces to enhance the experience for audiences around performances in both theatres and to invite a new daytime audience to connect with the extraordinary world of ballet and opera, often for the first time. The client was keen that, at all times of the day, the Royal Opera House building should be a place to glimpse the remarkable forces at play behind the scenes; a place to relax and have a coffee, lunch or a drink in the midst of the one of the world’s most beautiful opera houses, a place to see artists at work and a place to showcase its guiding principles of excellence, theatricality and curiosity.

What was the biggest design/cultural challenge? 

Carving out the new spaces posed considerable design and engineering challenges as the Opera House remained operational throughout the three-year construction period, with construction going on around 996 uninterrupted performances.

Can you sum up the greatest transformational element? 

The Linbury has been transformed from a cramped and uncomfortable studio theatre into a state-of-the-art artistic laboratory, making the Royal Opera House the only one of the five great opera houses in the world with a second house.

Client comment:

By night the Linbury Theatre comes alive with performances to match the quality of the world-renowned main stage. This flexible space has already been the setting for a film festival, numerous ballet and opera shows – with all performances selling out with the theatre space receiving plaudits to match performances. During the day the refurbished foyers and terraces are now a bustling, vibrant space filled with the curious, the casual visitor and cultural enthusiasts.

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